MOSCOW: Pessimistic Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said, ahead of the IOC’s crucial executive board meeting, that he feared Russian track and field athletes had only a minimal chance of being allowed to compete at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next month.
According to the TASS news agency, Mutko told a news conference: “I would not like to make plans for the negative scenario but our athletes preparing to travel on July 28 will hold a tournament, though I think there is only a one per cent possibility they will be admitted to the Olympic Games.”
Mutko did not think the International Olympic Committee’s executive board should have been guided by the principle of collective responsibility.
He said: “Unification through sport, the principle of collective responsibility should not accept everything in latest report of an independent commission. It may have appeared shocking but the evidence came from only one person.”
Mutko was referring to the whistleblower Grigoriy Rodchenkov who had been head of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory before fleeing to the United States and giving a damning interview about events at the Sochi Winter Games to the New York Times.
On Thursday, the Russian Olympic Committee failed to persuade the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne to overturn a suspension of the Russian athletics federation by the world governing body (IAAF).
In essence that had been Russia’s last hope of sending a representative track and field team to Rio though the Russians have sent a notification of a full team to the Games organising committee.